In another nerve-shredding thriller, Horsham left it until the last minute to squeeze past Old Dunstonians and secure a bonus point win, to hold on to second place and maintain the pressure on early season front runners Folkestone.
The dramatic finale saw the referee award Horsham a penalty try following persistent infringements by the Dunstonians scrum, which had seen the award of a succession of penalties which Horsham had been unable to capitalise on.
A relieved head coach Nick Stocker said: “I felt we fully deserved the win. We were dominant in the scrum, had solid line-out possession and played most of the game in their half.
“It was our silly errors which gave them a foothold in the game, and allowed a team which had been contained to remain in contention when the result should have been put to bed much earlier.”
Despite the Green and Whites having the dominant scrum from the outset there was a lack of precision and fluency to Horsham‘s back play, and from one of several aimless kicks the Dunstonians left winger ran in to score after five minutes.
Horsham quickly responded with a quick tap penalty from Matt Brown, who dummied a couple of players and offloaded to Rob Grantham-Hill to cross the line an level the scores.
The Horsham three quarters then showed how devastating they can be with quick hands along the back line before Lee Taylor released Matt Goodsir to score one of the best tries of the season.
Dunstonians showed their ruthless streak to reply with a second try, but Horsham’s superior scrum saw them win the ball against the head to drive the visitors back for Brown to dive over to put the hosts 15-10 up at half time.
Dunstonians regained the lead at the restart with a penalty try, which saw Grantham-Hill yellow carded, and another loose Horsham kick led to another try to put the visitors 24-15 ahead.
From there Brown led the fight back with a quick tap and burst to the line, and for the last ten minutes Horsham were camped on the visitors’ line before the referee lost patience with persistent infringements and the victory was sealed.
Horsham: Talbot (Day 40), Grantham-Hill, Barber; Grover, Goward; Pirt (Smith 60), Bell, Jonathan Whiting; Brown, Price; James Whiting, Ordidge, Taylor, O’Rahilly (Phillip 65); Goodsir.